an interview with… Samantha Joyce, Project Assistant – Heritage Open Days

Feastival at The Forum takes place 18/19 September, 10-4pm. Samantha Joyce tells us more about what to expect from this two-day event.

Norfolk Produce will be celebrated at Feastival at The Forum – Credit Keiron Tovell

what is Feastival at The Forum? 
The event, sponsored by Larking Gowen, is a special free-to-attend food and drink festival. It showcases Norfolk-based independent and artisan traders, and visitors can discover the roots of our county’s food and drink, learn how and where the produce is grown, and meet the producers. The little ones will get to explore Norfolk’s food history, too! 

what can visitors to Feastival at The Forum expect to see? 
Come down to meet local producers with a fine selection of produce to sample and purchase, while learning more about the heritage of the mustard to chocolate, gin to jam and more that’s produced on our doorstep. 

There will be a variety of delicious street food stalls and other food-related events and activities for all ages, including trying your hand at growing your own produce with grow your own potato drop-in workshops with the Food and Farming Discovery Trust (FFDT) and learning about bee-keeping. 

Visitors will also be able to meet some of our furry friends, with members of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in residence with their rare breed Norfolk Horn and North Ronaldsay sheep and lambs. Plus, you can sit back for a little while to enjoy music from local artists! 

what was the inspiration behind the event? 
Feastival at The Forum has been created to mark the 2021 festival theme of Edible England. This helps celebrate Norfolk’s edible heritage, as well as local food and drink producers, bringing them all
together in one place. 

tell us a little more about Heritage Open Days 
Heritage Open Days is England’s largest free festival of history and culture. Running 10-19 September,
the festival offers everyone the opportunity to explore new buildings, discover some hidden gems not normally open to the public, and learn more about the cultural heritage in our communities – and all for free! You can visit some of the county’s special parks including Pensthorpe Natural Park, headline sponsors of this year’s Norfolk programme. 

how difficult has it been to organise a large-scale event this year? 
As we continue to re-emerge from what has been the most challenging 18 months for many of us, and following a reduced festival in 2020, we’re delighted that Heritage Open Days is back with a bang this year. 

 The festival programme will also include a hybrid of in-person and online events, reflecting current government guidelines to keep visitors and organisers safe. 

Heritage Open Days in Norwich, and across much of Norfolk, is made possible by The Forum Trust and its Board, which champions and funds the coordination and delivery of the festival each year. Huge thanks go to all the venues, event organisers, community partners, and the army of volunteers who have worked so tirelessly to help bring this festival to life. 

We’ve even brought back the much sought-after Heritage Open Days brochure for Norfolk events this year, kindly printed by sponsor Norwich Print Solutions and available at The Forum, Norwich and Libraries and Tourist Information Centres across the county. 

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